A Dictionary of English Folklore

Simpson, Jacqueline; Roud, Steve

Published by Oxford University Press, 2000
ISBN 10: 019210019X / ISBN 13: 9780192100191
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Black cloth over boards with gilt spine titling is Fine; DJ is Good+ with creasing across head & rubbing at tail. Nice copy. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: With 1250 entries ranging from dragons to Mother Goose, May Day to Michaelmas, this enchanting dictionary unfurls the colorful history behind the holidays, customs, legends, and superstitious beliefs of England.
Ever wonder why we kiss under the mistletoe at Christmas or think a rabbit's foot brings good luck? Two folklore authorities provide reliable and often surprising answers to these and other curiosities that have shaped daily life in England for centuries. They explore the festivals and past celebrations of the English calendar, from St. Andrews Day and its tradition of drunkenness and cross-dressing to Twelfth Night and its king and queen cake. They also provide concise portraits of real and legendary characters that populate the public memory, including Robin Hood, The Brothers Grimm, Lady Godiva, Puck, and The Sandman. Fairies, mermaids, hobgoblins, and changelings are but a few of the supernatural forces surveyed here. However, as folklore encompasses the mundane as well as the fantastic, numerous other entries illuminate the significance of colors, numbers, flowers, animals, and household objects. Learn the curious history behind our distrust of the "black sheep," popular credence in "wishbone" wishes, folk cures for nosebleeds and warts, and persistent old wives' tales. In addition to ancient and medieval folklore, you will find many contemporary urban legends, e.g., the vanishing hitchhiker--a spooky figure seen ominously by travelers in Britain and the United States--and the Tooth Fairy.
An entertaining resource, The Dictionary of English Folklore will be a fascinating companion for readers of English literature, history, cultural studies, and fantasy.

Review: If your hand itches, you're about to receive money. Walking under a ladder is not just unlucky, but might mean you'll never marry or are bound for the gallows. To get rid of mice, speak to them politely, suggesting another house they might prefer. Filled with fascinating bits of information, A Dictionary of English Folklore catalogues many of the tales and beliefs, ancient, medieval, and contemporary, in England. The term "folklore" may have been invented in 1848, but the stories and legends it encompasses reach far back into history.

Their intention, say authors Jacqueline Simpson and Steve Roud, "is to provide a work of reference, not to build theories--the entries therefore emphasize established dates and facts; speculative interpretations are kept to a minimum." Though dryly academic at times, the dictionary is a wealth of information on English folklore, of which little has been written (Scotland, Ireland, and Wales all have their own folklore and mythologies). Broader than just a collection of tales, the book includes important folklorists, holidays, numbers, plants, animals, and customs. Did you know "Goldilocks" was once "Silver-Hair" and before that an old woman? Or that folding your thumb into the palm of your hand and closing the fingers over it was believed to protect against witches?

Organized in alphabetical order with cross-referencing, the entries are thorough and well-cited (including books, publication dates, and page numbers). A Dictionary of English Folklore is a great reference tool for historians and folklorists, but also for those interested in the origins of fairy tales, old wives' tales, and superstitions. --Dana Van Nest

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Bibliographic Details

Title: A Dictionary of English Folklore
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 2000
Binding: Hard Cover
Book Condition: Fine
Edition: First Edition.

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Simpson, Jacqueline, Roud, Steve
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Book Description Oxford University Press, 2000. Hardcover. Condition: Good. Item may show signs of shelf wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. Includes supplemental or companion materials if applicable. Access codes may or may not work. Connecting readers since 1972. Customer service is our top priority. Seller Inventory # S_210719759

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Book Description Oxford University Press, 2000. Hardcover. Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. First Edition; First Printing. 9.30 X 6.30 X 1.30 inches; 411 pages. Seller Inventory # 378428

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Book Description Oxford Univ. Press, 2000. Hard Cover. Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. 411 pp. with more t han 1,250 entries. A new reference work and accessible guide to English folklore. Includes superstitions, characters, supernatural beliefs, calendar customs and much more. Seller Inventory # 35729

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